During these extraordinary times, with the closure of schools and the cancellation of exams this summer it remains our overwhelming priority to support teachers and learners throughout this unprecedented situation.

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Our overriding aim this summer, as with any exam series, is to ensure that every learner receives a grade that reflects their knowledge and understanding of the subject they have studied. This year is no different, and our focus remains on this objective, ultimately ensuring that learners receive a grade that is accurate and fair so that they are able progress.

Take a look at our short video that summarises the services we have available to support you through centre assessment grading and rank ordering.

Guidance on centre assessment grades

You will need to grade your students using all the evidence available to you to determine what grade they would have most likely achieved had they sat the examination in the summer. To reach this decision you and all the teaching staff will want to consider a wide range of information where it is available. This may be through mock examinations results, non-examined assessments (NEA) and other general records or evidence of performance across the course of study. It is only through reviewing all evidence available that you will be able to form a holistic view of likely candidate performance based on professional judgement.

You can download our document below that has been written to bring together the up-to-date guidance you need along with some suggestions around how to approach supplying a centre assessment grade and a rank order of your students.

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Grade characteristics

To help and support teachers and centres when making a judgement on the grade they believe their learners would achieve for the Summer 2020 series we've produced subject Grade characteristics documents with specific guidance around grades 4 and 7 for GCSE and International GCSE and grades C and A for A level and International A level. Guidance for iPrimary and iLowerSecondary will follow.

These documents have been created to provide guidance on the key characteristics we would expect to see students display at specific grades, in order to help you make informed decisions when you review your students work in a subject. This includes the key characteristics of what borderline candidates would look like, what secure candidates in these grades would look like and what most secure candidates in these grades would look like. We are also providing generic guidance on ways to rank order learners across the full grade range and full cohort.

We are currently producing these documents for our largest GCSE, A level, International GCSE and International A level qualifications, and will be made live on the website as soon as they are ready. The links below will take you directly to the Grade characteristics documents for each qualification. You will find them at the top of the page under exam materials, June 2020.

The principles being used for Centre Assessment Grades and rank order, for all our general qualifications (GCSE, International GCSE, A level, International A level), will also apply to iPrimary and iLowerSecondary. 

Centre assessment grades are submitted at unit level for IAL qualifications. Unit exemplars with examiner commentaries, apart from those yet to be assessed in the 2018 specifications, are already published in each subject and can be found here.

Please see our detailed assessment guidance for information about BTEC Centre Assessment Grades and making Unit Claims.

Guidance on rank orders

Once you have decided on grades for your learners, you then need to provide a rank of students in each grade with number 1 being the most secure. We will provide support on different approaches to rank order your students, standardising across your cohort and guidance on subjects with tiers.

Although we are not directly advocating a particular approach, you should be having discussions about the rankings that are completed. Some of the best practice approaches have involved using all the available evidence for this year and then comparing it to previous cohorts’ outcomes, prior qualification grade boundaries and the previous grade distributions at a centre and a national level.  Whilst we have no confirmation at this stage about the standardisation methodology, using all the available evidence for this along with previous years’ cohorts should act as a sensible guide.  

Need some help? Ask an expert

Should teachers and centres need further support with the overall process of rank ordering learners for the summer 2020 exam series you can get in touch with our subject experts who will be able to help you. Contact your subject expert via email or live chat to request the support you need.

Please note we are unable to make decisions on individual cases.